Voters could appeal moving elections
Nov 29, 2015 | 11018 views | 11 11 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Voters in Jersey City may get a second chance to derail plans to move the municipal elections from May to November.

Earlier this month, a non-binding referendum was narrowly approved by voters as a supposed test of public sentiment. The City Council still has to decide whether to move the election.

The supposed justification for the move would be to improve voter turn out for municipal elections and to save money. Critics, however, pointed out that turnout for the previous May municipal election actually exceeded the November turnout for governor.

A little-used state law allows the public to appeal a city ordinance. If critics can get slightly more than 2,000 valid signatures, the council would be forced to choose between repealing its own ordinance or to allow the issue to go to a special election so voters would have the option to repeal it.

The council introduced the ordinance to make the change at its last meeting, but is expected to put off a final vote until December. The council could table the ordinance or let it fail, and this would retain the May date for municipal elections.

In another option, the council could vote to put the matter on the ballot as a binding referendum next November. And you can bet that voters would also be asked to get rid of runoff elections in a second ballot question. Currently, a candidate is required to win with more than 50 percent of the vote in the first round. If not, a second round of elections called a runoff would have the top two finishers face off to decide who wins as mayor or council member.

The change of election from May to November will mostly benefit Mayor Steven Fulop because it would allow him to run in the Democratic primary for governor in June, and if he loses, seek reelection as mayor in November.

But what if Fulop wins the Democratic nod for governor?

This could result in a rush of candidates seeking to fill the vacated mayoral seat. This could also explain why Fulop would want to do away with runoff elections, allowing the person with even the slimmest of majorities to win in 2017.

Bike sharing

Weehawken, Hoboken, and Jersey City were discussing a joint bike sharing program over a year ago, but then they diverged.

Last week, a spokesperson for the city of Hoboken told the Reporter that Hoboken and Jersey City were working out their differences amicably, at the same time as Jersey Councilwoman Candice Osborne was still waiting for a reply from Mayor Zimmer after a brief and not-too-friendly exchange of emails between them. Osbourne had written a critical Facebook post after a group of Hoboken bikeshare bikes somehow wound up placed at a public rack in Exchange Place in Jersey City.

Jersey City is working with Citi Bike, while Hoboken is using a different company and Weehawken opted out entirely.

Weehawken decided it had better things to do with the cash that was needed to share the program with Hoboken, and spent money on other things.

Hoboken and Jersey City also differ sharply on several other bike riding issues, such as public safety.

Jersey City follows state law that prohibits bike riding on sidewalks. Hoboken, which likes to go its own way, claims that bike riders are legal on sidewalks as long as the bikes do not exceed five miles per hour. The matter was discussed at the last council meeting. You have to wonder if police radar can detect such speeds, and how this might be enforced.

Jersey City is about to launch a public education program to coincide with its bike sharing program, which will be open to the general public. Hoboken police conducted a program over the summer to work with delivery bike riders -- as if the only bike riders on Hoboken sidewalks are those humble people trying to make their living in the ever-unfriendly business atmosphere in Hoboken.

Al Sullivan may be reached at asullivan@hudsonreporter.com.

Comments
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PAX07030
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December 01, 2015
Much ado about almost nothing. Again.

Old man Sullivan weekly rant against anything Zimmer.

Sad, worn out and pathetic much like the author.

assilem
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December 01, 2015
PAX an upstanding member of Society can not see the blank in his own eye but readily sees the splint in Al's.
Misplacedpriorities8
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November 30, 2015
I to totally agree that this bike obsessed mayor has her priorities out of whack. This city can't move forward until we rid this city of the cancer called rent control. Thanks to Zimmer we're still stuck with the most idiotic rent control law in the country with no income limitations at all on who gets to pocket the bennies paid for by property owners and taxpayers.

Get rid of rent control mayor Zimmer. Then use the millions of dollars of new rax revenue that will produce to put in all the bike lanes you want. For some reason some of the people most obsessed with complaining about bike lanes are the people living high on the hog on other people's money in subsidized rent controlled apartments so you'd be killing two old sick birds with one stone.
SlappingToast
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November 30, 2015
Don't forget to link to the website. http://www.hobokenmsta.com/

Misplacedpriorities8
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November 30, 2015
I have nothing to do with the MSTA but I'm sick of a small group of self entitled crackpots living subsidized lived at taxpayer expense setting themselves up as the arbiters of our city's proper "priorities" as if they are the conscience of the reform movement. These people are not even reformers. They were as surprised and upset by Castellano losing as Ma Russo was. If there's a priority that Zimmer has failed miserably at its at making sure subsidized housing of all kinds goes to those who need it.
PAX07030
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December 01, 2015


********************************************************************

Let's get end the PILOTS for Church Towers and MarineView unless they include means testing.

How much tax money is spent subsidizing them.

With many members of the old guard taking advantage of the life long taxpayer subsidy of their luxury lifestyle that has been able to continue for way too long.

assilem
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December 01, 2015
PAX I hope you will see too it that the Chief of Police is removed. Zimmer is hands off because a huge block of voters are their. Grossbard only caters to the voters not the population at large. She only wants to keep seats in power not serve the community. It is up to you PAX to make this happen!
assilem
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November 29, 2015
It is a fallacy that bikes should ride parallel to cars - protected or unprotected. The best bike routes are scenic and wholly apart from roads. You do the research - the most active biking cities in the US does not pit cars, pedestrian and bikes. FYI, beware the diagramed bike track is the first step in removing/prohibiting cars altogether from Washington street - to be followed by our southern egress.

Al thanks for pointing out the outrageous demonization of delivery riders to take the focus off the caravan of bikers who claim our sidewalks counter to state safety advice. It is no surprise that our Safety Director has had enough of this town that flaunts safety and health advice.
SlappingToast
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November 29, 2015
Time for my annual agreement with Al - and Melissa. Phew, only a few weeks left to do it - we were running out of time.

Riding bikes on the sidewalk at any speed is a TERRIBLE idea. It's dangerous, it's stupid, and if you are over the age of 12, it makes you look like a complete loser. Might as well put the training wheels and handle-bar streamers back on.

DO NOT DO IT. Learn to ride in the street. Consider that the last step to learning to ride a bike - and that you DON'T KNOW HOW to ride a bike until you can do that safely.

The whole town is preoccupied, walking around in headphones, staring at their androids, pushing one of those 21st century surreys known as "a stroller," perennially late for something or acting like they are.

But they have a protected right to be all that on the sidewalk. You, even at 5 miles an hour, do not have a right - or a NEED - to be there with your bike. You're just either too afraid or too lazy to take yourself out in the street where you belong. Tell you what - 5mph is little more than a fast walk. So if you want to be on the sidewalk with your bike, get off and walk it.

One last thought. You can't call yourself a "bike-friendly city" when cyclists would rather risk the pedestrian public's safety on the sidewalk than brave the streets. Bike-friendly has to do with the relationship between bikes and cars.

As everyone who has a beef with the city seems to need to lard his or her diatribe with an incongruous reference to bike lanes ("we have a bad maintenance contract with Suez... and... bike lanes"), clearly there is still work to do before this is a bike-friendly city in terms of more than amenities. Bikes are seen as the horse the mayor and new Hoboken in general rode in on, so to speak. Resented in some circles in mostly luddite terms as a symbol of "the new ways"; resented in others as a symbol of prioritizing the superficial.

Are both these groups wrong? Yes. Obviously. The common denominator is a refusal to think very long or very hard. And truth be told, the luddites are more excusable than the more intellectually dishonest 2nd group who pretend that bike lanes are an either/or proposition and that administrations don't perpetually multi-task and juggle priorities. The fact is, expanding bike riding IS an infrastructure priority. Not to mention healthier for participants. But expect the whipping boy status of bike lanes, bike riders, anything with the word bike in it - to go on for quite some time. Inertia, after all, is the most underrated force in all history.

Can you do anything about the short-sightedness of your neighbors, Mr/Ms Sidewalk Accident-waiting-to-happen? Not that much. But they ARE your neighbors. And you DO belong in the street with the cars. And you ARE doing your part to provoke resentment of bikes and bike riders every time you choose the sidewalk over the street.

If someone told you he was going to drive his car on the sidewalk for a while until he built up the confidence to drive in the street, or simply because it was the path of least resistance - you'd say he was out of his freaking mind. Yet you think your CHOICE, not NEED but CHOICE, to launch your Mass-times-Speed down the pedestrian walkways is different? You're dead wrong. Try this over the holidays. Go visit your folks. Have your mom stand in the sidewalk in front of the house with her back turned. Now, you ride into her at 5mph. Better call the paramedics first. Let us know how that turns out.

Alternatively, grow up. Grow a pair. Ride in the street where you belong.

TellMeAllAboutIt
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November 29, 2015
Riding bikes on the sidewalk is a terrible idea and getting hit by a speeding car or truck while riding a bicycle in the street is an even worse idea. Besides, there’s almost no one walking on most sidewalks in Hoboken and less people riding their bikes there so, what’s the big deal? I do both. When there’s lots of auto traffic (and trucks that barely fit on the street) on the road and no one on the sidewalk, I maneuver onto the sidewalk; after the cars rush by, I maneuver back onto the street. I don’t have a fancy-dancy 10-speed light touch bike, so I’m an obstacle when riding on the streets where the bike lane actually is the same thing as the car lane ‘cause I can’t (literally) get up to speed.

Slappin’ you are wrong (as you so often are on your silly blog)when you say that bike riders don’t have a right to be on the sidewalk. Oh, and what the F**k is this protected right that you are bequeathing onto the pedestrians? Hell, I pay taxes and if there is no one on the sidewalk, I can, and will, ride my bike there. Since most of the time there are no pedestrians on the sidewalks (other than Washington St.) no pedestrians’ safety is at risk and neither is mine since I won’t be risking getting killed by a speeding car. Now, you may not have any concerns about the safety of bike riders in a town that wasn’t designed for both bikes and cars on the same narrow streets, but forcing bike riders (many on small wheeled folding bikes) into the middle of the roadway when the sidewalk is perfectly clear is emblematic of the short-sightedness that you share with this administration.

As long as the trucks and cars severely outnumber bike riders, you are insisting someone else's agenda take precedence over each individual’s right to be the arbiter of their own personal safety.

False characterizations of corruption and cries of ‘old guard’ levied at individuals weary of the Mayor’s over-emphasis on narrow priorities such as bike lanes and Sandy, while she doubles down when anyone questions her policies instead of hearing/addressing the concerns of constituents and focusing on those concerns first –before pushing a personal vision of town- are just that, more falsehoods. Some objections are legitimate and shouldn’t be painted with the broad brush that considers any objection merely political opposition to be crushed.

You yourself admit the town, overall, isn’t very bike-friendly but, in your view, despite that fact (that you yourself admit) those of us that are careful bike riders must risk our own safety to support an agenda that might not be our priority when other items that are so much more important are regularly ignored.

When a crumbling infrastructure has been ignored for a Mayor’s entire tenure (until we all couldn’t flush our toilets) the heavy emphasis on manufacturing a bike-friendly city in short order is an undoubtedly misplaced priority.

I expect that I’ll soon be reading a craze-infused unintelligible story on your blog blaming our most recent infrastructure woes on former Mayor Russo which, while true enough when you think back to the privatization of our water system, neglects to address the past 7 years of inactivity during this Mayor’s tenure while we’ve been endlessly inundated with press releases and policy pushes for bike lanes, boathouses and Sandy hysteria.

All of these ‘mayoral priorities’ fall under the umbrella of a completely mismanaged city-hall where the Mayor pays no attention to the inner going’s on, ignores affordability and historic preservation, praises car charging stations as give-backs (cars, ya’ know – hardly bike-friendly give backs) and considers anyone that isn’t a complete and total sycophant a political foe and natural born enemy.

The real ‘not thinking long and hard’ culprit is an incompetent yet overwhelmingly controlling administration that focuses on the minutia (and in the big picture, bike lanes are minutia) and window dressings (14 million to beatify Washington St. and 1/2mm to put up directional signage with pretty color schemes) while relying on a strategy of ‘we’ll blame previous corruption for ALL of today’s problems.’ Seven-and-a-half years later that excuse doesn’t cut it anymore.
SlappingToast
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November 30, 2015
So TMAAI is squarely in the "afraid to ride in the street" camp. And your explanation for making pedestrians dodge you is your bike isn't, um, "fancy" enough for the street? Not a "10-speed"? Haven't noticed how many of the bikes have no gears at all? You go too slow for the "speeding cars and trucks"? Where is this "speeding" even possible in Hoboken - ever? But someone told you you had to go as fast as the cars? And you believed them?

The only thing too slow here is the person piloting your bike.

As for your repeated tiresome assertion that I own a blog, why don't you try this after you get done touching yourself this morning and praying that this is the day you'll finally have a need to shave --- check out "my" blog. GA, MSV, whatever. See any articles there about cycling? Do you think I'd have written the above reply to Al's opinion piece but never once written about cycling in the 100s or 1000s of articles on "my" blog? Do you think at all or just credit yourself with being a master of deduction and make up excuses for being a coward about where you ride your bike?